Joel Matip becoming Liverpool's most important player after yet another masterclass against Brighton

Joel Matip is the Premier League February player of the month
Joel Matip is the Premier League February player of the month
Emmanuel Ayamga

For many Liverpool supporters, Virgil van Dijk will always be the club's best defender. However, no one can discount the importance of the Dutchman's defensive partner, Joel Matip.

The 30-year-old has been blighted by niggling injuries since joining the Reds from Schalke in the summer of 2016, but he is now playing his best football ever.

Joel Matip was adjudged the Premier League player of the month for February after helping Liverpool to four victories in the league, where they kept three clean sheets.

The German-born Cameroon international hasn't always made the headlines, but his performances speak for him whenever he steps on the pitch.

That Joel Matip assist yesterday 🤤

An underrated defender

The word "underrated" is often flaunted around baselessly, but that is exactly what Matip is: a great defender who has been underrated for so long.

It’s not just about how he stops opponents from encroaching Liverpool's goal area, but he is also very good at carrying the ball forward to start an attack.

On Saturday, Matip delivered yet another masterclass as the Reds beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0. The centre-back produced a sublime assist for Luis Diaz to open the scoring for the Reds.

When you take a critical look at his game, it's almost as if Matip has no weaknesses. His aerial ability is fantastic, he defends brilliantly and acts as an extra man in midfield when progressing with the ball.

These are all attributes of a modern-day defender and Matip readily possesses them all.

Joël Matip's game by numbers vs. Brighton:100% duels won100% aerial duels won49 touches7 passes into final ⅓5 clearances4 aerial duels1 assist0 foulsHe wants March Player of the Month as well. 😏

Joel Matip becoming Liverpool's most important player

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah will receive wide praise for topping the assists and goals charts, respectively, but Matip is right up there with the duo.

His game may not be backed by statistics, but anyone who watches Liverpool knows how integral he has become to the team.

"Joel is a very famous figure in the group, in the team, and he obviously doesn't get a lot of headlines," Klopp said after the win over Brighton, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
"Believe me, if there is one person on this planet who couldn't care less if we all under-rate him, it's Joel Matip! Honestly. He doesn't even realise, probably.
"He's just happy to be here with these boys. He's a really smart person, but not in their kind of things. He never thinks, 'my God, I should have another status' or whatever. Not at all."

Matip is beginning to get the recognition he deserves. That is because he has been playing at a very high level in recent months and has become one of Liverpool’s most important players.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar


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